Seattle Percussion Collective

“Let sounds be themselves,” said John Cage (1912-1992) famously in a 1957 lecture, “rather than vehicles for ... the expression of human sentiments.” To those who protested the idea of an “inhumane” art, he responded that people found beauty in, and were deeply moved by, all sorts of natural phenomena (mountains, thunder and lightning, night) that have nothing to do with humans. He only asked us to approach sound in the same spirit: “Emotion takes place in the person who has it.” Of course, in our Age of Accessibility, it’s become extremely politically incorrect to suggest that listeners bear even an atom of responsibility in their interaction with music—but don’t get me started. Cage’s preferred method for letting nature speak, and keeping himself out, was to use chance operations (specifically the I Ching) to select and arrange sounds; and percussion, probably since it carries the least baggage from the Western art-music tradition, was a favorite medium. Hear how all this theory was put into practice as the Seattle Percussion Collective offers a program of his works tonight and of (mostly) local composers on Saturday. Friday at Gallery 1412, 1412 18th Ave. E.; Saturday at Chapel Performance Space, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N. GAVIN BORCHERT

Fri., Oct. 1, 8 p.m.; Sat., Oct. 2, 8 p.m., 2010

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